In its millennial history, Italy has seen the uprising of some of the best scientists, architects, and artists. Today, it is the country that encompasses roughly 75% of the world’s cultural and artistic heritage. Its capital, Rome, might not be the city with the most museums in the world, but why would you need that when the city itself is an open-air museum? Indeed, there are dozens, if not hundreds of things to see in Rome.
You can live in the Eternal City your entire life and still be struck by its countless beauties. The 13.000 streets of Rome host over 2.000 fountains, more than 900 churches, infinitely tiny and monumental piazzas decorated with statues and obelisks (most of which were stolen from Ancient Egypt), and, of course, tens of museums.
But what if the time to visit the Ancient City is limited? Even then, you still want to leave Rome with a fulfilling sense of having experienced la dolce vita italiana to the fullest. To help you experience the culture and the arts of the Italian capital like the locals do, we have created and reviewed this list of 10 things to see in Rome, Italy in 5 days.
10 Best things to see in Rome, Italy
The Caput Mundi is not just the most important city of Italy, but it’s also the capital of Christianity. Being the crib of western civilization and Christian religion, Roma is also referred to as an Archeological Lasagna. The reason for that is simple: you can literally explore layers upon layers of Roman history, underground!
To make sure that you won’t miss any of the most emblematic landmarks, above and below the ground, check our guide of 10 things to see in Rome, Italy in 5 days. Also, if you’re interested in day trips, make sure you check the monasteries around Rome and day trips.
1. Vatican City and the Vatican Museums
Apart from being a city within a city, the Vatican is the smallest country in the world. Its territory is just 44 acres but it fits in the six biggest museum complexes in the world. The Vatican Museums (Italian: Musei Vaticani) in Rome is an exceptional ensemble of 26 museums, mostly of art, housed in the Vatican Palaces.
Established in the 16th century by Pope Julius II as a State Collection of statues, it officially opened to the public in the second half of the 18th century. Today, you can easily arrange your visit of the Vatican by buying a ticket at museivaticani.vt, or book one of the many tours available online. Tip: the earlier you visit, the better.
2. Colosseum and Imperial Forums
The Colosseum, originally known as Flavius Amphitheatre, is located in the very center of Rome. It is still recognized as the biggest amphitheater in the world. Inaugurated in 80 A.D., the Colosseum could fit up to 75.000 spectators. It was used for gladiator and animal fights, public executions, and many other minor events. Right in front of the Amphitheatre, you can admire the greatness of the Imperial Forums, monumental piazzas built to glorify the power of the Empire.
You can have a lovely walk and enjoy the view of the Colosseum and the Forums from outside, totally for free. However, in order to discover all the hidden gems of the area, it’s highly recommended to book a guided tour. We promise an entrance ticket to the archeological sites is well-worth it!
3. The Borghese Gallery
The Borghese Gallery is an Italian national museum situated in the heart of the all-extravagant Villa Borghese Gardens. The Gallery includes most of the private collection of Scipione Borghese, the cardinal-nephew of pope Paul V who constructed the villa itself.
It can be considered unique in the world in regards to the number and importance of Bernini’s sculptures and Caravaggio’s canvases. After the visit to the museum, you can enjoy the Roman panorama from the nearby Pincio Terrace. Definitely a must-visit among the things to see in Rome.
4. Piazza di Spagna
Piazza di Spagna, AKA the Spanish Steps, is a monumental square located a stone’s throw away from the Villa Borghese Gardens. The majesty and the elegance of the Baroque architecture that characterizes this district is simply breathtaking.
Nonetheless, what really makes this district extraordinarily special is the number of luxury boutiques. There, the stores of the best Italian and international brands will fulfill your deepest fashion cravings.
5. Fontana di Trevi
Rome is undisputably the city with the most fountains in the world. Some are quite simple, others are fancy or even downright creepy. Among all of those, the Trevi Fountain is definitely one of a kind! Nothing compares to the flawless design of this dreamy monument.
The symbolical decorations that embellish la Fontana di Trevi can genuinely make you lose track of time. Its peculiar details undoubtfully make it one of the coolest places in Rome for a heartfelt Instagram moment. If you’re in the area, we’ve also covered the best restaurants near the Trevi Fountain for you!
6. Bocca della verità
For sure, one of the most intriguing things to see in ancient Rome is the Bocca Della Verità. According to the legend, the Mouth of Truth was carved by Virgil Grammaticus, a magician who lived in the 6th century. He commissioned the idol to discover the men and women who had been guilty of treason.
To do that, just put the hand in the mouth of the statue. If it closes, not only will you be proven guilty, but you’ll also lose your hand! Anyhow, if your hand is still intact, it’s worth visiting the Jewish Ghetto and Tiberine Island nearby.
The list of the best things in Rome to see wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the Pantheon. This temple, originally dedicated to all the gods, is now a Christian Basilica. Moreover, it’s the best-preserved Ancient Roman monument. The inside hosts the tombs of Italian kings and artists like Vittorio Emanuele II and Raphael.
The magnificence of the Pantheon might be stunning from the outside, but it’s inside that you can truly feel all the greatness of this construction. If you want your trip to be complete, then the Pantheon is clearly one of the top things to see in ancient Rome.
8. Catacombs of San Callisto, Appian Way, and Cecilia Metella Mausoleum
In the Ancient City, there are more than 60 catacombs. The San Callisto catacombs are the biggest and the most important ones in regards to the number of popes and Martires buried in it. However, this is not the only reason why we have included it in our list of the most interesting things to see in Rome.
The strategic location of this site will allow you to visit the Archeological Park of Appia Antica and Cecilia Metella Mausoleum in the nearest surroundings. After a lovely walk in the Park, you’ll have the pleasure to cool down in the fresh tunnels of the catacombs.
9. Piazza Navona
Piazza Navona, which was constructed by the two main artists of Rome (Borromini and Bernini), is fully saturated with exceptional artistic details.
The refined and romantic atmosphere of this square is mouthwatering, which makes it the best choice for an intimate dinner with your soulmate. Why not have a stroll around the square before heading to Tre Scalini, the perfect restaurant for such an occasion?
10. Campo de Fiori and Trastevere
After a delicious dinner in Piazza Navona, why not grab a drink to experience the authentic Roman nightlife? Wander in the close-hand neighborhoods of Campo de Fiori and Trastevere, which will make your vacation truly unforgettable.
Get lost in tiny bars and the poetic streets of Trastevere, and feel the lively vibrations of Campo de Fiori to fill up your evening with magic. Sometimes, one of the best things in Rome to see is a full glass of Negroni.
Wrapping up the 10 best things to see in Rome Italy
Our list of the 10 most interesting things to see in Rome is a great starting point to provide you with inspiring and intriguing ideas to make your vacation memorable. Even though…
A whole lifetime would not be enough to reveal all the secrets of Rome. This city will continue to enchant many generations to come. Truly, those who have the chance to visit it will never forget how they have fallen in love with Rome.